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Three Sound Installations Making the World a More Magical Place

article-imageThe Lullaby Factory in London (via Studio Weave)

Soundscapes are just as fascinating to explore as any landscape, with each place having its own unique noise composition of movement and activity. Yet too often the terrain of sound goes unnoticed, lost in the drone of a city. But it can be a powerful experience. Here are three examples of artists who are using unexpected sound to bring magic to unexpected places.

LULLABY FACTORY
London, England

article-imagevia Studio Weave

The Lullaby Factory is a system of horns and pipes laced over the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. They’re hidden in a courtyard that was serendipitously created when a new building went up next to the brick hospital, and Studio Weave designed the Lullaby Factory as a secret discovery for the young patients to experience. The rambling design, completed in 2012, was inspired by the drainage pipes on the building. The old hospital is planned to be demolished in 2028, but until then the “factory” is churning out soothing music created by sound artist Jessica Curry. It’s even piped into hospital rooms through radios for children who can’t go outside. 

article-imagevia Studio Weave

article-imagevia Studio Weave

article-imagevia Studio Weave

article-imagevia Studio Weave

ZIMOUN TANK
Dottikon, Switzerland

article-imagevia Zimoun.net

An abandoned toluene tank in Switzerland is the unassuming home of a permanent installation created by Swiss artist Zimoun in 2013. While outside the tank is drab and rusted grey, just beyond the door is a blaring white space. And up on the walls are 329 DC motors each powering a cotton ball that pound in a mesmerizing rhythm against the tank. 

article-image
via Zimoun.net

article-image
via Zimoun.net

article-imagevia Zimoun.net

TIMES SQUARE HUM
New York, New York

article-imagephotograph by Rachel James/Atlas Obscura

Thousands of people crowd through Times Square everyday, but likely few notice the unmarked sound installation under their feet. Created by Max Neuhaus and called simply “Times Square” — and is now sometimes known as the Times Square Hum — it haunted a pedestrian island grate on Broadway between 45th and 46th streets from 1977 to 1992. Then after a decade of silence (or as quiet as it gets for the busy intersection), it was reinstated and is now maintained by the Dia Art Foundation. However, it still remains without a sign, you just have to keep your ears open. 

article-imageMax Neuhaus installing “Times Square”